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Pedestrian Death Spurs Talks for Safety Upgrades to Church Crosswalk

An informal public meeting will be held Feb. 12 (6:30 p.m.) at City Hall to discuss possible safety improvements to a crosswalk where an elderly man was fatally struck by a car.

City councilors will be holding a public meeting next Tuesday to discuss possible safety improvements for the crosswalk at Saint Adelaide Parish where an elderly man was killed after being hit by a car on Jan. 27.

Theodore "Ted" Buttner, 87, of Somerville, was leaving the Catholic church Sunday afternoon and in the middle of the crosswalk when he was hit by a car. Buttner, a former parishioner, was at the church to meet up with his family. He died later that afternoon at Mass. General Hospital.

The man driving the Buick LeSabre that hit Buttner was an 84-year-old Peabody resident who has since had his license suspended. No charges have been filed against him to date.

Ward 6 City Councilor Barry Sinewitz organized the meeting and says he has asked Mike Garabedian to preside over the informal gathering -- Garabedian chairs the council's Municipal Safety Committee.

Sinewitz says he plans to discuss the overall situation and explore some options with fellow councilors (a few others may be in attendance), parishioners, neighbors, police and the Community Development Department.

The common complaint Sinewitz has heard, and which has been echoed by Peabody Patch readers in the days since the accident, is speeding on that section of Lowell Street.

So far, Sinewitz said, the police are doing some preliminary traffic analysis of the area and placed a cone in the middle of the crosswalk that warns motorists to stop for pedestrians.

A patrol officer was also monitoring traffic at the church this past Sunday and Sinewitz said he hopes an officer will be on duty again this weekend.

One improvement that residents have asked about is installing a button-operated pedestrian traffic signal at the crosswalk.

Sinewitz said he’s confident they can come up with a solution and hopefully slow down traffic, but less confident on how long it will last.

"Everybody is pretty impatient these days... The lives we lead now, everybody is in a rush," he said, anticipating that speeding will inevitably become a problem again in the future.

Sinewitz said he will bring any motions that do come out of the meeting before the full council on Feb. 14.

The informal public meeting will be held at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 12.

J February 07, 2013 at 02:10 PM
I wonder if any city officials read these articles. One reader had a really good idea she mentioned in an earlier article. She said to put a speed bump before the crosswalks. It sounds like a low cost effective idea. No matter how much of a rush you are in you're not going to hit a speed bump at 40 mph and ruin your car's suspension.

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